On Speaking When Upset

Sometimes, it feels good letting people know that you don’t appreciate their shit.

In the past, when I was given some sort of bad news, I usually kept my mouth shut and took it like a chump. I would nod to the speaker, even thank them for taking the time to tell me whatever it was they did, and then justify how saying anything–even complaining–was unnecessary, and so it was a good thing I said nothing at all. Funny how the mind justifies counterintuitive actions.

I am an avid believer of not speaking needlessly, or, not speaking unless absolutely necessary. That said, there are times where speaking up is absolutely necessary in order to avoid, well, feeling like a chump, or even further problems.

Here is an example: at work, my store manager knows me as a meek girl, one who is afraid of speaking and may even lack backbone to speak up for herself. The thing is, I’m anything but this. I will speak when I need to, and keep my mouth shut when necessary in order to observe, learn and memorize interactions. I’m sneaky that way. But, in retrospect, I do wish I would have spoken up more often, at least enough to dissuade her misconception and save myself some kind of respect form this person.

Now today, I went to several offices to get the withdrawal form for a class signed, and with every visit I learn more and more just how difficult the withdrawal process has been made. When I finally made it to the last office (the Dean’s office) for the final signature, I am told that the documentation I had provided was not enough, and that without a third-party document, the Dean would not look at my forms. Safe to say, I was pissed. Why are they making this so difficult?

Now, the old me would have said “Oh, alright. I will (because I speak without contractions when I’m angry) get the correct documents, thank you for your time,” and walked away feeling dejected and sorry for myself.

The new me, however, said “This is ridiculous,” and, after seeing the secretary’s face, “I don’t mean it like that, but they make this so difficult!” Yes, I wasn’t insulting her, but letting her know that I thought it wasn’t cool that they’re making me run around this giant donut just to get out of a freaking class. (The Music Building, where the Spanish and English Departments reside, is shaped like a gigantic donut, no joke.) I was, and am, proud of myself.

And, not wanting to run the risk of sounding like Aesop but running it anyway: speak up people, especially when you feel upset. The introvert in me always wants to be polite, relaxed, always justifies speaking extra as unnecessary, but you know what? Sometimes, it feels good letting people know that you don’t appreciate their shit. Granted, I’m not saying that you blow to high heaven on someone, just let them know, calmly, that you are not pleased. Yes, say it like that, with a frown: “I (pause for dramatic effect), am not pleased.” It would be hilarious.

Okay, ignore that last part, but you know what I mean.

But, anyway, what do you guys think?

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10 thoughts on “On Speaking When Upset”

  1. I am (pause for dramatic effect), not pleased! Grrrrr! I think I got the emphasis wrong. I am not (pause for dramatic effect), pleased! This may take some work to get right.

    1. Keep trying! I gave someone my “not pleased” look earlier today, when I was trying to get a refund after being sold the wrong product. Felt good. 🙂 (I got my money back too.)

  2. Speaking up is indeed important. No one can meet your needs and expectations if you don’t communicate them. It took years of bullying and rejection before I gained enough confidence to stand up for myself. Those who assume I’m a quiet doormat are in for a big surprise once they get to know me. I’ve had even hardcore macho types tread lightly with me. A lot of people find me really intimidating because they know I can see through their BS and ask the hard questions. I’ve found that being polite and firm yields the best results; If you’re too vicious and vindictive, you end up alienating everyone. But if you keep that anger and resentment bottled up, it ends up wrecking your emotions. It’s hard to strike that balance.

    1. Looks like we’re two peas in a pod! (Excuse the bad figure of speech.) Finding the right way to respond and stand up for yourself is one of the hardest things I have to do, because part of me wants to beat the hell out of the instigator, and the other part is partly scared, and party indifferent.

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